News East West
A New Zealand Sikh candidate in civic elections was on Wednesday sentenced to five months’ community detention for electoral fraud.
Daljit Singh, 43, who is a member of the Labour party, and his five associates were convicted of forging documents to enroll outsiders during his 2010 election bid for a ward in the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.
This is the first such poll fraud case reported in New Zealand, according to the New Zealand Herald.
A real estate agent, immigration advisor and a justice of peace (an appointed position equal to notary lawyer in India), Daljit Singh is a spokesman for the New Zealand Sikh Society spokesman and chairman of the Supreme Sikh Council of New Zealand.
Before his sentence by the high court in Auckland, Singh’s lawyer sought quashing of charges against him. But the prosecution opposed it, saying, “Some level of stigma properly attaches to using forged documents in the context of an election.’’
Convicting Singh to five months’ community detention, Justice Mark Woolford said his sentence was not out of proportion to the seriousness of his offence.
Singh was, however, acquitted of 18 other charges and also ordered to do 200 hours of community work.
His five associates – Gurinder Atwal, Mandeep Singh, Virender Singh, Paramjit Singh and Malkeet Singh – were also found guilty of using forged documents to increase Singh’s chances of winning the civic election. But he failed to win that election.